The last three weeks have been almost entirely given over to dealing with campaigning matters and arrangements relating to the E-petition.With future planning now being decided upon, actual birding should now become a reality compared to the snatched, and somewhat brief, opportunities taken up in recent days.
Looking back to last year I noted that daffodils were showing in flower by now. This year they're well advanced , but not in flower locally, no doubt boosted, on the one hand, by the prolonged spell of good weather we had, but now stopped in their tracks by the prolonged cold , easterly winds and virtually no sun. Daylight length gradually extends, but there is a sense of being in a bit of a vacuum, which certainly appears to apply to , .
This is particularly noticeable locally with the grass moors adjacent to the house being almost devoid of birds. The odd Curlew and Lapwing pair had started to have a presence on the usual higher ground , but all that activity now seems to have come to a stop and the birds ceased to be in evidence. By contrast, Herring Gulls patrol areas of open ground in small parties, presumably searching out invertebrates. As you might expect the local Golden Eagles are "in residence" and seen occasionally if looked for, but display has been less than frequent given the bad days. I keep getting visits from a group of Choughs, presumably non-breeders, who, none the less, inspect the nest boxes in the barn quite regularly, displaying some form of "avian good manners" as birds take turns to pop through the access holes! A few days ago a pair of Stonechats were obvious, doubtless having moved up from the coast which is not far away. The local pairs (2) of Starlings are active, in song and collecting nesting material in a half hearted sort of way. Odd Buzzards, Hooded Crows and Ravens, plus occasional Common and GBBG's overfly the area and Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting, Fieldfare, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock and Wren turn up occasionally, but that's it!! Well, it's kept me sane and I guess there are one or two species amongst all those that some people would be deliberately seeking out if they were here on holiday. So, I'm thankful, more than!. But I shall be glad when I'm on the trail again ( I can't quite believe I've written that!! I've just been watching "The Charge at Feather River". Yup, it's been that desperate, folks ).
As for Spring, well I guess it'll be here soon enough, accompanied by the first of our migrants that are now beginning to be reported in the south.